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Let's Identify Some Kitchen Gadgets

Updated on June 29, 2017

I started this collection because ...

I really don't know why, but maybe it was because about forty years ago I found the cutest little something or other and bought it for 15 cents. (By the way, when was the cent sign removed from the keyboard? It was quite handy!) Anyway, I placed this 'something' in a visible and very predominant place so that when someone came in the house they would see it.

My thought was that someone would then say, "Oh, that's a nice..." And then I would know what that thing was. Finally, someone mentioned that it looked like a tea bag holder. She explained that the tea bag was placed in the top and any liquid dripped into the bottom part. I guess it would work, but it could be just as messy as putting the used tea bag on the saucer.

Many unusual strainers can be found on eBay and elsewhere online, as well in thrift shops and at garage sales. I wanted to share my collection with you today.

This is the first gadget of my collection

Recent find and just identified as an ice cream scoop

Vermco. stainless steel; Japan
Vermco. stainless steel; Japan

The next finds

I didn't have much time over the years to go to garage sales or to thrift shops but, finally, I did find a couple of interesting items. I have yet to identify them. Sometimes these gadgets have a company name that helps. The first picture does; it is Vermco but, when I put in that name as a search, I had no real luck. Some items did come up on eBay but these were kitchen gadgets like knives, nothing that looked like my item. I even went through their completed listings section. My husband thought it could be a scoop to use on coconuts but I've searched that and got nothing even resembling it. Finally, a gadget like mine did come up on the internet and it was called an ice cream scoop but I do like the idea it could be used on coconuts.

Push the handles together, like one would do with tongs, causes the one to meet the other but ??
Push the handles together, like one would do with tongs, causes the one to meet the other but ??
The two ends must work together on the same food target.  The pointed end must peel or remove something but the other have two half moons about 1/4" apart.  The 'handle' is plastic or bakelite.
The two ends must work together on the same food target. The pointed end must peel or remove something but the other have two half moons about 1/4" apart. The 'handle' is plastic or bakelite.

The two items pictured above

The two items that I found (mentioned above) are very unusual and mysterious, at least to me. Neither have identifying marks of any kind and no family member or friend has an idea what they are for.

  1. Regarding the first one, the bottom left piece has a long slit in the metal. When the two pieces (top and bottom) are pushed together, the left large one goes through the separation. There is a hook on it to keep it from separating from the bottom. I hope that makes sense. While unique and well made, it is not particularly sturdy so it couldn't be used on firm foods. One person thought it could be for scraping cookie dough off the flat surface but I have no idea what it is used for so could not do a search.
  2. Regarding the second, the middle section looks like it might be wine and black bakelite. The half moon section is like a full circle that is split on the arc side. The other end is comes to a curved point. We thought it might be for separating the sections of a grapefruit with the one end and pulling a section out with the other. I've searched auction sites and other internet sites but cannot find any that has the half-moon end.

Ice crusher with an Irvinware incised stamp, a patent number, and the number 2 inside one handle

The ice crusher

I really do like this one and not just because I found out what it is used for. This item from a thrift shop and I could not resist it. It is so clever! After a few days, my husband said it was an ice cube crusher. We put a cube in and it was crushed easily. After checking eBay, we found that it was indeed an ice cube crusher. The two pieces 'lock' together to crush the cube, when the handles are gripped together.

A recent purchase

I found this 'thing' at Goodwill. The clerks and I discussed its purpose but the only idea anyone had was that it could hold a tomato for slicing, which would be quite a feat. The 'spikes' are in four rows which form a cross. The handle looks like a screwdriver handle. The metal ends are not sharp even though they become smaller in diameter about three-eighths of an inch from the end. Someone thought it might be a meat tenderizer. Even though I didn't know what it was for, I had to have it and it was only 49 cents. I'm still trying to learn what this little gem's purpose is.

Knife sharpener

EKCO  U.S.A. Painted wooden handle ... excellent condition!
EKCO U.S.A. Painted wooden handle ... excellent condition!

Help with identification

I was looking at the above item when another customer saw me examining it and said it was a knife sharpener (her mother had one like it). I have several sharpeners but none like that so it did not occur to me. I was happy with the customer's assistance.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Open to show the insideClosed, the outside is smoothA gadget that removes corn from the cobThis photo shows the attachment that hooks over the side of a pan.I have no idea what this is.  There is a Union Pacific shield stamped on the steel.I know this is a stick butter slicer as I used one when working as a waitress and carhop in the '50s.  They are such great gadgets!!
Open to show the inside
Open to show the inside
Closed, the outside is smooth
Closed, the outside is smooth
A gadget that removes corn from the cob
A gadget that removes corn from the cob
This photo shows the attachment that hooks over the side of a pan.
This photo shows the attachment that hooks over the side of a pan.
I have no idea what this is.  There is a Union Pacific shield stamped on the steel.
I have no idea what this is. There is a Union Pacific shield stamped on the steel.
I know this is a stick butter slicer as I used one when working as a waitress and carhop in the '50s.  They are such great gadgets!!
I know this is a stick butter slicer as I used one when working as a waitress and carhop in the '50s. They are such great gadgets!!

Slice-a-Slice and other gadgets

I've had the Slice-a-Slice for many years but did not look it up until today. It is a strange looking gadget and I'd be totally lost if it did not have the name on it. It is stainless steel and made in the USA and, from what I've read, these are considered vintage.

The idea is to make thin slices of bread out of regular thickness bread. The gadget is hinged on one end so that it opens and closes. The inside rough punctures are to hold the bread in place when slicing through it with a thin sharp knife. They were probably useful before sliced bread or when making bread at home.

Corn Cutter

We have had the corn cutter for many years ... probably we purchased it in the '70s or '80s. My husband said I must have used one growing up on the farm but I don't think so. My mother cut corn off with a knife and then used the back of the knife to scrape out the creamy interior. I was pretty adept with that method and, looking at the item pictured, don't believe I would have used it safely.

"Strainer"

I just found the 'strainer' at a thrift shop for .49. Although I've not used it, believe it would be wonderful with certain pan sizes. It is more compact than the colanders and easier to clean.

A rare find!

I have never seen a gadget like the one below.

Closed
Closed
Opened
Opened

A garlic press??

Here again, I've had this for some time. It is marked U.S.A. but that is all the information shown ... no company or brand. I thought it might be a garlic press but it does not look like any of the dozens and dozens I looked at on the internet. While it is heavy stainless steel, I am not sure it would hold up for many many pressings. It hinges open and one side is flat. The other has bumps on the inside and dimples on the outside, no holes however. The two handles are pressed together and, when closed, it is about 2-1/2 inches from handle tip to the hinged side. I will keep trying to identify this attractive little gadget.

Not sure about this gadget

One might think this is a cookie cutter and it could be. The bottom 'cutting' surface is not smooth, however, but has a patterned jagged edge. I don't remember where I found this but is interesting looking. There are no marks, brands, or stamping on this one.

I like this one too!

Trudeau Herb Mincer
Trudeau Herb Mincer
Photos shows the inside of the 'container'.
Photos shows the inside of the 'container'.

Trudeau herb mincer

Though Trudeau's website has this as an herb mincer, I plan to see if it works for other things ... lumpy powdered sugar, spreading cinnamon and brown sugar ... the list could go on and on. The handle, of course, turns and the long thin spikes go through the slots in the flat bottom. The spikes barely fit through the slots but, when turning, the food item can sift down. It is really well made from stainless steel but there is no maker's mark of any kind. The flat bottom is hinged so that anything becomes jammed, clean out is easy.

Thanks to my followers and supporters.

I have several more of the vintage gadgets but most of these are fairly common. Hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading about my finds.

Thanks for supporting my articles!

Comments

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    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 2 days ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks much! I found another gadget that is a mystery to me and will try to add it to my article.

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      Dan west 8 days ago

      Trying to identify a antique utensil

    • profile image

      Sheila Albert 2 weeks ago

      I love vintage gadgets and enjoyed looking through the pictures on your page. Your cookie cutter/nut chopper is actually a Kwik-Kut food chopper.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 6 months ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks for checking out my Hub. At times, I have left out a gadget and asked people who stopped by if they knew what it was for. Don't do that much anymore - same people stop by. If I find something at Goodwill, for example, I usually chat with a customer nearby and ask them. Have had a couple of accurate suggestions. If the item has a brand, put that in an eBay or google search -- that works well. If it has no brand or marks and you have no ID clue, a search would give too many hits. If I find more gadgets, I will add them to my Hub. Good luck with your search, Joan!

    • profile image

      Joan 6 months ago

      I found your site because I'm looking to identify some items which my mother had in her kitchen gadget drawer. There are still a few I have not figured out. But not sure where to actually look. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 7 months ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks so much for the ID. I do apologize for taking so much time to respond.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 7 months ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks much for identifying the gadget. I really appreciate it.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 7 months ago from Colorado Front Range

      Appreciate it!

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 7 months ago from Colorado Front Range

      Wow, such luck in acquiring your gadgets. They are so much fun to have and to use when people come to a meal. So sorry I've been so long in responding.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 7 months ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks so much for helping me out with this information ... sorry to be so long in responding.

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      dale van holland 8 months ago

      The second picture on the page (newest find ) is an Ice Cream Scooper

    • healthyeating-24 profile image

      Jolia 11 months ago

      Thank you so much for this tips

    • profile image

      Debbie 13 months ago

      I just received a box of old kitchen utensils yesterday, two of which were unknown. In researching, I found this article and now have them identified, the nut chopper and the cookie dough dropper! Unbelievably, I searched cookie dough droppers and this type is still being manufactured, found it on Walmart.com! The one that I have has no markings and appears to be vintage.

    • profile image

      Lizzie 18 months ago

      The ostensible garlic press is for squeezing lemon slices without getting juice in cuts, or seeds in your food. I am still being driven insane by the wavy bottom cookie cutter, which I think must be for creating cutlets or coring something super tough.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 24 months ago from Colorado Front Range

      Putting mystery gadgets out like that makes for fun and problem-solving conversation. We have a few unknowns that I recently found in thrift shops and keep them out for identification purposes. Thanks so much for identifying the cookie dropper!!

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      VortexBeans 24 months ago

      Cleaning up my mother in law's kitchen, my wife found the exact same gadget shown in "two items pictured at the right", Photo #1. We tied a string to it and dangled it from a ceiling fan with a sign that read..."Question of the Day! What is it?" It amazed, amused, baffled, befuddled and entertained everyone that looked, squeezed and analyzed it. We didn't know what it was either! We found out that it was in fact a Cookie Dropper as mentioned above. It is used to drop cookie dough onto a baking sheet. The Pampered Chef sold them as Cookie Dropper 1530 until 1996. We are keeping it. A great way to get people stirred up trying to figure it out!

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 2 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      I still have no idea what that gadget is used for. If you do find out, please let me know. I've displayed some gadgets in a visible place and hoped that a visitor will say 'oh, you have a ...' but so far no luck. Thanks for looking at my Hub, Tracy!

    • profile image

      Tracy 2 years ago

      I got excited when I saw the third picture. I recently purchased one just like it and can't find anyone to tell me what it is.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 2 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Never thought of that. Thank you, Carolina Belle!!

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      Carolina Belle 2 years ago

      The gadget with the jagged bottom edge that you think might be a cookie cutter my grandmother used to chop cabbage for slaw

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 3 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Shells Beans: Thanks for letting me know your thoughts. We never do but perhaps should keep the box, if there is one, because the uses could be listed.

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      Shells beans 3 years ago

      Found this while trying to I'd my own mystery object.

      The one that you thought might be a cookie cutter with a wavy bottom edge.

      Is for chopping ground meats while in a hot skillet

    • profile image

      Kitchen Fan 3 years ago

      The tool which you said could be a garlic crusher....is in fact a lemon slice squeezers.They were usually supplied with scampi or prawn meals. A semi-circle slice of lemon would be pressed between the two 'pincers', and you could squeeze the lemon without getting your fingers too wet!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      wabash annie - Ahh - A nut chopper. That makes sense. I missed that comment. These things definitely are conversation pieces. That's a great idea of yours to use them at parties.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 3 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Glenn, someone commented that the 'cookie cutter' is actually a nut chopper. Who knew? I have several gadgets that I forgot to include as I use them often; they were in a different place. Sometimes, I use the very unusual ones when we have company ... such conversation pieces. Thanks for commenting!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I find this kind of stuff really interesting. It's amazing how many gadgets people had used throughout the years.

      Today it seems we don't have so many gadgets for specific functions. For example, when I pour liquids from a pot, I hold the cover loosely to keep the foods in the pot. I never even knew there was that gadget specially made of for this.

      And the cookie cutter, or whatever it is: I got so into trying to find out what that is. I looked in eBay to see if anything matched, but didn't find anything close. I did an image search and that image you have didn't come up anywhere. Its almost like a biscuit cutter rather than a cooky cutter. But that's not right ether. I guess this will remain a mystery for now.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      A cookie dropper ... of course. Thanks. I've added to my collection of gadgets so should add to those in the hub.

    • profile image

      G. 4 years ago

      Found this page trying to figure out what mysterious item 1 is. Turns out it is a cookie dropper.

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      These gadgets are inexpensive, a lot of fun, but sometimes very puzzling. Bought one yesterday at Goodwill for 80 cents. Have no idea what it is for but it is stamped Union Pacific!

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 4 years ago from Maine

      Wow, that knife sharpener bought back memories. My mother used to have one of those when I was a child. Thanks for the memories!

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Jaye, thanks for reading about my kitchen gadgets ... I've picked up a couple more since publishing the hub. They are so inexpensive and can be useful if one can figure out how their use!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      It's fun to look at these old gadgets and try to guess their original use. The stainless steel blade with the slightly cupped edge may be a type of spatula for foods that typically fall off the sides of a straight-edged spatula, such as minced potatoes and onions cooked in a pan.

      I have one of the gadgets that the Goodwill clerks called a tomato slicer, and I was told that's what mine is--not that I've ever used it for the purpose!

      The gadget with the jagged bottom edge that you think might be a cookie cutter is actually a hand-held nut chopper. Whole or half nuts (such as large walnuts) should be placed in a wooden or stainless steel bowl, then you chop away at them while continuously shaking them around in the bowl so you don't miss any.

      Fun hub, which I enjoyed because I like old things.

      Voted Up+

      Jaye

    • wabash annie profile image
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      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure how I start these collections.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      you have lots of unique gadgets in your kitchen... I have a couple but couldn't be bother to figure them out., Interesting hub!